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NFY – Nylon Filament Yarn

The nylon fabric is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides and first produced on February 28, 1935 by Wallace Carothers at DuPont. Nylon comes in many types, the two most common for nylon fabrics, textile and plastics industries are: nylon 6 and nylon 6,6. Nylon 6,6 is made of two monomers each containing 6 carbon atoms, hexamethylenediamine and adipic acid, which give nylon 66 or PA 66. its name. Nylon 6,6 has a dense structure with small, evenly spaced pores. This means that nylon 6,6 is difficult to dye, but once dyed it has superior colorfastness and is less susceptible to fading from sunlight and ozone and to yellowing from nitrous oxide.. Nylon fabrics made of nylon 6 yarn begins as pure caprolactam. As caprolactam has 6 carbon atoms, it got the name Nylon 6. When caprolactam is heated at about 533 K in an inert atmosphere of nitrogen for about 4-5 hours, the ring breaks and undergoes polymerization. Then the molten mass is passed through spinnerets to form fibers of Nylon 6.

During polymerization, the peptide bond within each caprolactam molecular is broken, with the active groups on each side re-forming two new bonds as the monomer becomes part of the polymer backbone. Unlike nylon 6.6, in which the direction of the amide bond reverses at each bond, all nylon 6 amide bonds lie in the same direction. The nylon fabric is made from nylon 6.

Features of nylon fabrics - Fibers of nylon fabrics have high elasticity and luster, highly resistant to abrasion, chemicals like acids alkalis, etc, wrinkle proof, has the potential to be used as a technical nutrient, Nylon 6 absorbs up to 2.4% of water which results in reduction in tensile strength, and Nylon 6 is a semi crystalline polyamide. Nylon is very much suitable for hosiery and the knitted fabrics because of its smoothness, light weight and high strength. Nylon is a lustrous fibre. The lustre of the fibre can be modified by adding the delustering agent at the molten stage.

Nylons are polyamides with recurring amide groups. They contain carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen elements. Nylon has good tenacity and the strength is not lost with age. Nylon has a high strength to weight ratio.

It is one of the lightest textile fibres and at the same time also one of the strongest. It is one of the fibres which are added at the points of wear such as knees and seats of jeans and toes and heels of socks. The strength of the nylon fabric is lost when wet. Nylon has excellent abrasion resistance. Nylon has good elasticity which makes it much suitable for the apparel purposes. Nylon fabrics have excellent resilience. Nylon fabrics retain their smooth appearance and the wrinkles from the usual daily activities can be removed easily.

The nylon fabric is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides and first produced on February 28, 1935 by Wallace Carothers at DuPont.

The major process licensers for Caprolactam (raw material for NFY) are DSM/ Stamicarbon, BASF, Ube, IFP & CIECH. LIBOLOB and Formosa, Asia Fiber Public Co. Ltd, Chainlon, and BASF are some of the biggest producers of NFY in the world. Northeast Asia consumes 78% of the world's nylon fiber for textile filaments and 51% of the world's nylon fiber for industrial filaments. In both cases, China is the largest producer in the region. China's textile filament market is expected to be the fastest growing in the next five years, at about 4% per year.

In India Nylon filament production in 2011-12 was 33 KTA and is expected to touch 50 KTA in 2016-17. The consumption of NFY is projected at 52 KTA for 2016-17.

The main applications of nylon filament yarn is innerwear, swimming wear, fishing net, sewing thread, socks, gloves, magic tape, rain coats and shower curtains.

Manufacturing Process of Nylon Filaments

The two varieties of nylon, which are used for apparel purposes which include Nylon 6 and Nylon 6,6. Nylon 6 is made from one monomer (Caprolactum) containing 6 carbon atoms. Nylon 6,6 is made from hexamethylene diamide and adipic acid which has six carbon atoms each.

Manufacturing Nylon 6

The raw material for manufacturing Nylon 6 is coal. Cyclohexane oxime is produced by a series of chemical reactions on coal.
  • Cyclo heaxaneoxime is then treated with sulphuric acid to form caprolactum.
  • The caprolactum is a monomer with 6 carbon atoms that are polymerized to from chains of caprolactum. Polymerization is done by gently heating it in a steam – jacked stainless steel vessel. The solution is stabilised as a super polymer under constant steam and pressure.
  • Nylon may be delustered by adding the delustering agents like titanium di oxide, barium sulphate, zinc oxide, and zinc sulphate.
  • The molten nylon 6 polymer is allowed to flow onto a slowly revolving casting wheel.
  • These are sprayed with cold water, which hardens it into milky white ribbons.
  • The ribbons are transformed into flakes that are sent for spinning and are then drawn into the fibre form.

Nylon 6,6 is made from Hexamethylene diamine and adipic acid as shown in the figure below.

Melt spin-draw processes for nylon yarn (a) draw-twist process, (b) conventional spinning process, and (c) coupled process

Capacity (kt) Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
JCT 14 14 14 14 14 14
Century Enka 10 10 10 10 10 10
GSFCL, SURAT 6 6 6 6 6 6
WELSPUN SYNTEX 6 6 6 6 6 6
GUJARAT NYLON 6 6 6 6 6 6
KALPANA     6 6 6 6
SALASAR     6 6 6 6
EAGLE     6 6 6 6
Total 58 58 76 76 76 76
Source: Industry

  NFY: India Demand Supply
Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Capacity 58 58 76 76 76 76
Production 33 33 50 50 50 50
Dom Sales 20 22 22 50 50 50
Imports 22 23 23 2 2 2
Exports 2 2 2 2 2 2
Consumption 42 45 45 52 52 52
Source: Industry

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